Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Good bye Bowdens--Hello Elders 9/29/09

Good bye Bowdens--Hello Elders 

Rain, sun, rain, over-cast, rain, clear with clouds at sunset
Temp 42 F low, 55 F high Wind 5-8 mph

This afternoon we said good bye to our friends, visa trip companions, travel partners, and fellow Family Enrichment Program promoters; Elder Gil and Sister Heidi Bowden from southeastern Utah. They have become an important part of our mission experience and we will certainly miss them. Even though they live in Tomsk, 5 hours to the north of Novosibirsk, we have become close because of the things we have shared and done together.

The day after they left, we received a new set of missionaries, green as grass and ready for anything.

The most telling sign of our relationship is "their sign" on our wall. We have a ". . . Slept Here" wall above the beds in the guest room where our visitors stay. We have had a few missionaries stay for several days, getting over an illness. We have had as short a visit as a nap by Elder McBride and as long as a week from our friend Lelia Gilbert who stayed with us while visiting last summer.

Well, the Bowdens OWN the wall with 21 nights on our twin beds. I have never slept on them, but several missionaries have said that they are more comfortable than their own apartment beds. I expect that they don't stay with us for the beds, but we certainly enjoyed them being with us.

We met them right away after we arrived, riding to Krasnoyarsk to the Young Single Adult conference in July. Then we shared the Family Enrichment Program and they really took off with it. We traveled with them on visa renewals, we went three days on the train to Irkutsk and Ulan-Ude for their Humanitarian projects, and had a great time doing FEP seminars.
Here we are at a maternity hospital where they were looking at funding some neonatal monitors for premature babies.

In La Mancha we visited the ancient capital Toledo where Sister Bowden was admiring the bread in this stall.

In Kazakhstan Elder Bowden and Elder Royer bought sheep skin vests. It takes a big man like Elder Bowden to wear this kind of thing and it fits him well. He's a big man with a kind and soft heart. I remember he said one time that he never cried until he had daughters and then he cried all the time. He then said he got over that and stayed pretty dry until he went on a mission and now he cries all the time again.

The Bowdens are the heartland of America; uncomplicated, straight forward, honest, genuine, full of love for their family and others they admire, and most of all . . . real. We would all do well to grow up to be like them.

They have gone now to their children and their grandchildren, to their business affairs, to their church assignments, to their neighbors, to their home, and to their lives. I miss them. I wish them well in all that they do. I love them like family and I hope that we will at least stay in touch and maybe even meet again to reminisce and play Uno again. I cannot say that I have ever been associated with finer people than Heidi and Gil Bowden. God bless you Elder and Sister Bowden.

What a couple. What a country.

1 comment:

Mom/Cindy said...

Sure miss you guys, but I know will connect again in Utah, California, or another mission.
Love from Novosibirsk,